“What do you think you’re doing?” my son London asked when I entered the house with my six bottles of Verde Juice nestled in a cute little carrying case the size of a child’s hatbox. “A juice cleanse,” I said, trying to hold my ground.
Now that London is fourteen, he can be my toughest critic. As of this week, he has issues with my Instagram account, choice of footwear, and the chimpanzee manner in which I text. “Why?” He sighed and didn’t wait to hear the answer.
The truth: I wasn’t exactly sure. I am an unlikely candidate for a cleanse of any sort given my upbringing and predilections. I could go deep into my origin story and paint a tale of summer nights spent with my father and brothers devouring charred meat and boiled seafood without utensils. More recently: the week before my cleanse, I dormed at Bowdoin college in Maine with the College Horizons Native American college access program. It’s an intense week of early mornings, late nights, three squares in the dining hall, candy and cake to keep the teens happy, and about six cups of coffee a day to keep this little essay coach alert. And if all that wasn’t enough to swell me up, I had a horrific day of travel that included flight delays, plane malfunction, irate passengers, and a medical emergency that had me holding up an old woman’s head just so she wouldn’t die.
So I waddled into the Verde Juice headquarters which, with its simple clean interior and freshly cut flowers, looks a lot like the waiting room for heaven. Verde’s founder, Kelly Egolf, explained the way the three-day juice cleanse worked and suggested it might be a needed “reset” for my swollen body (my words not hers). If you think I’m exaggerating, you can find the photo Kelly convinced me to take where my head appears to be the victim of a killer bee attack. She also explained what each specific juice offered and how the ingredients were organic and sourced locally if possible. I would be drinking different juices every two hours, six times a day, for three days. Then, like a modern male Little Red Riding Hood, I skipped home with my two baskets to face London, the Little Bad Wolf.
London be damned (he taunted me with the bacon I cooked him!), the first day went fine. Given my addiction to caffeine, I experienced only a slight headache and light hunger. As instructed, I drank water every time I felt either of those symptoms. The juices all taste great to me and as fresh as I could imagine any bottled juice to taste. A historically bad sleeper, I slept longer and less fitfully.
The next two days were better than fine. I experienced no headache whatsoever and, I know this sounds canned, I felt lighter. My mood had fewer ups and downs, and I had no issue watching friends cook and eat lavish meals while I drank Green Goddess juice, feeling slightly “goddessy.” As a writer, I noticed how much my life revolves around food (and coffee) (and wine) (margaritas when the occasion calls for it). I also caught myself reaching to test something off London’s plate or bat clean up after he was finished. Those, my fellow parentals, are habits I’d like to rid myself of.
As for London, he actually tasted two juices. That’s as close to approval as I’m going to get. As for me, here’s the verdict: the Verde three-day juice cleanse helped me rebound and reset after a tough week.
Sometimes, fresh starts come in little glass bottles.